This is one of the never ending subjects all busy people think about on a daily basis. There are various methods people use to boost their work productivity and many theories as to how one should approach this issue. We always want to achieve more and use the most of our each day.
In spite of all of the information you can find online on this topic, I feel like most of the advice really misses the point. It’s not about having thousands of solutions such as gadgets or habits up your sleeve. Having so many things to think about and organize is really only taking away your time and not helping you make the most out of it.
A lot of people end up being disrupted by their gadgets, apps, and habits because they miss the point. The point is not to adopt as many tricks as you can, but instead to use them properly. If you approach things the right way, they can work in your favor. If not, you will not achieve any results, and you will feel even more stressed than before.
1. Create a list of things you absolutely must do.
Create a short list, either on some phone app or on a piece of paper. This list should include the things that are essential to be done during that day and you should consider it sacred. You should use it as a reminder so that you don’t lose focus of what’s important. Create a couple of columns that shortly outline what must be done, or if you have to, add short specifics that concern that task.
It should not be more complicated than that. This is your code, and you must stick to it at all times. Never allow something else to get in your way of achieving the goals you’ve set for a certain day. This brings us to the next trick.
2. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked in.
Saying to yourself “I must stay on schedule” is easy, but it’s often a hard thing to achieve, especially if you have an important position and everyone wants a piece of you. I can’t even count the number of days I woke up in the morning thinking that I won’t let anyone disrupt my plans during the day, and realizing after work that what happened was the complete opposite.
3. Use tools and apps.
You have probably created lists or flash cards with your responsibilities at some point, to see if that will motivate you to be more productive. To be honest it can work to some extent, but just like anything else, it can become tedious after some time.
A more interesting way of keeping track and increasing productivity is by using apps and tools. For example, at my workplace, we try different management tools just to keep things neatly organized and more entertaining. We use things like Toggl to collaborate on group projects, to have a smooth workflow and task distribution and to keep track of time. When you complete a project and know just how long it took you to complete it, you treat that time as a high score. Afterwards, you work harder in order to beat the record.
We have also used Basecamp and Trello, since these apps can also work for group projects. However, it does not mean that you cannot use these tools outside the workplace as well. You can create lists of responsibilities and reminders can pop up on your computer or smartphone. You can even use it as a family, to distribute chores amongst each other. Give it a try; it really works.
4. Create hourly challenges.
This thing does not have an official name, although some people love to say – “get in the zone” but I just call it an hourly challenge. Basically, you challenge yourself to be fully focused and devoted to work for a whole hour. You set an alarm to go off, and once you start, you are not allowed to do anything outside of the task at hand.
Whenever we work, we tend to doze off and we just allow our train of thought to navigate our thinking, but if you are one hundred percent focused on your task for a whole hour, you will see just how much you can accomplish.
It’s important that you take a short break afterwards, before you get into another hourly challenge, because avoiding this can be really mentally exhausting.
5. Take small breaks.
One thing that can seriously harm your productivity is work overload. You take on additional tasks and go all out on one day, and then you have a hard time mustering enough willpower to continue to work on the following day or for a whole week. It’s important that you do not overburden yourself, and that you take on moderate portions of your workload.
If you combine the hourly challenge with enough small breaks, you can get everything done really fast. Plus, you’ll have the rest of your day to recharge, and you won’t have an impression that you are exhausted, which will allow you to continuously work at the same level of productivity. With small breaks, you won’t get more work done, but you will manage to maintain the same level of healthy productivity, which is rather important.
6. Segment more copious tasks.
If there is one thing that will discourage you, it’s massive projects. When you know that you are going to work for a whole day, but you still won’t be able to complete the entire task, you will only end up feeling bad. So, when this happens, you need to segment the tasks into smaller parts, and view those smaller parts as daily tasks. It will make it easier for you to track your progress, and have a better sense of achievement after each day.
7. Group work.
Lastly, if you are having a hard time focusing, maybe you should try working in groups, provided that these groups consist of people who are eager to get the job done. When you are working in a group, you get that inner pressure of not wanting to hinder anyone, so you stay focused. You do not want to come off as irresponsible, so you force yourself to pay attention and be involved.
To sum up, people very often face this problem, and it’s perfectly natural to lose enthusiasm. So, in order to solve these problems you need to innovate and try different tactics, you can also switch your tasks and do something a bit different, so that you are not doing the same things each day. It will also be useful to give group work a try or to try to come up with challenges to motivate yourself.
Feel free to use apps and to organize your tasks a bit differently to add more dynamics to your schedule, and you’ll be fine. Additionally, do not hesitate to fully utilize your holidays, and take a good rest, and make a good use of your free days, because if you want to stay productive on a long run you need to be fully rested.
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